The Greatest Man Of The Second Millennium

By Bryan Fischer | October 25th, 2017 at 6:32 am

BY: Bryan Fischer / Contributor

Bryan Fischer is the host of the daily 'Focal Point' radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. 'Focal Point' airs live from 1-3 pm.

Filed Under: Bryan Fischer, Christianity, Contributor, Ethics, Faith, Feature Stories, History, Influencing Institutions, Inspirational, Leadership, Liberty, Mississippi PEP, Religion

Great men have left their imprint on the world’s politics, science, literature, art, commerce, and education. But over the last 500 years, all of them have stood on the shoulders of this great man.

Martin Luther was the greatest man of the second millennium.

Many great and influential men moved about the world stage between 1000 AD and 2000 AD – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Bismarck, and Winston Churchill to name just a few – but Luther towers above them all.

As a lowly monk, he stood alone against the mightiest political power of the day, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and against the mightiest religious power of the day, the pope of the Roman Catholic Church. This wasn’t David against Goliath, this was David against an army of Goliaths. Luther took them on, and he won.

As a result, the history of the world was changed forever, and the impact of his courage and boldness will be felt until the end of time.

Great men have left their imprint on the world’s politics, science, literature, art, commerce, and education. But over the last 500 years, all of them have stood on the shoulders of this great man.

While others brought civilization back to liberty or prosperity or peace, Luther brought civilization back to the word of God.

Corruption Drives Honest Leadership Into Action

Luther had no intention of changing the world when he tacked the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church on October 31, 1517. In fact, he said later that if he had known what he was getting into, he couldn’t have been dragged into it “by a team of twenty horses.”

But when he ran across John Tetzel corrupting the purity of the gospel beyond recognition by selling indulgences – sentence reductions in purgatory – for filthy lucre, he knew he had to do something.

He simply wanted to start a dialogue and a debate about the corruption and theological error that had crept into the church of his day. He had no desire to destroy the church; he only wanted to reform it. He wanted to restore the gospel in all its purity – that Scripture and not tradition is our ultimate authority, and that man is not saved by works but entirely by the grace of God through faith in Christ.

But he was resisted, intimidated, and threatened by the religious and political establishment of his day, and brought before the Diet of Worms to answer to the emperor and the pope.

“To Go Against Conscience Is Neither Right Nor Safe”

Luther manfully refused to budge even though he knew his life was at stake. Said Luther at the climactic moment, “Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason…my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”

An eyewitness reported that as he left the room after defying the most powerful men in the world, he raised his fist in the air and said, “I am finished!”

But he wasn’t. With God protecting him, he worked to bring European civilization back to the original authority of the Bible and away from misguided human tradition. He wanted to restore men to the glorious truth that they are set right with God by faith, and not by obedience to a set of man-made rules.


Link: Read More Commentary From Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. He contributes to Mississippi PEP from Tupelo, Mississippi about Religious Liberty, Cultural Challenges and the Role of Faith in Society.

Follow Bryan on Twitter: @BryanJFischer


Protestantism was the fruit of his labor, and as it swept through Europe it not only revitalized a continent’s spiritual life, it radically reformed its political life as well. The biblical concept that every man is a priest in his own right led inevitably to the selection of political leaders by the vote of the people rather than by heredity.

Protestantism took root in England, but the hunger of the Puritans and Separatists for an even more purified church led them and hundreds of thousands of Protestants after them to the shores of America. (The population of America at the time of the Founding was 98.4% Protestant, 1.4% Catholic, and 0.2% Jewish).

Leadership Inspires Order: A Prosperous and Stable Society

The Protestant heirs of Luther in America formed the colonies, drafted the Declaration of Independence, crafted the Constitution, and unleashed the Protestant work ethic which made America the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. Protestants founded America and built America.

America soon became the greatest force for good in the history of humanity, modeling what a republican form of government looks like, demonstrating the centrality of Christianity to a prosperous and stable society, and sending more missionaries to more darkened corners of the world than the rest of the world combined.

In 1851, the yacht “America” took on the sailing world and trounced the competition. Queen Victoria asked, “Who is first?” When she was told it was America, she asked, “Who is second?” “There is no second,” came the reply.

And none of that would have been possible apart from the courage of one man who dared to stand on the truth of Scripture and change the course of human history.

The greatest man of his millennium? Hands down, Martin Luther. And there is no second.

  • William H Smith

    Here is the part on Luther from a piece I wrote a number of years ago on the three leading Reformers.

    On October 31, 1517, the eve of All Saints’ Day, the monk Martin Luther nailed a statement to the church door in Wittenberg, offering to debate his Ninety-five

    Theses. At the time what most troubled Luther was the sale of indulgences which were said to obtain remission of the temporal punishments of sin for the individual or for a loved one in purgatory. Tetzel, their salesman, is supposed to have created a couplet to aid the sale of the indulgences:
    As soon as a coin in the coffer rings
    the soul from purgatory springs
    There are two contributions I associate with Martin Luther.

    Supremacy of Scripture. Luther was required to appear and answer for his condemned writings at an assembly held at Worms and presided over by the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V. The man who represented the Empire and the Roman Catholic Church was John Eck. Eck laid Luther’s writings on a table, and asked if the writings were Luther’s and if Luther stood by what he had written. Luther was backed into a corner. Would he assert that what he had written was the truth or would he submit to the church and recant his writings as being in error? His famous answer was:
    Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted, and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.

    Secularists and theological liberals like to think that Luther struck a blow for the supremacy of individual autonomy against authority, particularly church authority. That’s wishful thinking. Luther had studied the Bible and become convinced that the Roman Catholic Church now held serious error. Popes and church councils could make mistakes and had. What then was the ultimate authority? God speaking in Holy Scripture. The Scriptures stood above the church and its hierarchy. The church had to submit to Scripture interpreted by the use of God-given reason.

    What Luther did was serious and revolutionary in his day. It put his life in danger, but, more important, it could potentially put people’s souls in danger. It was not his intent to undermine the church or its legitimate authority. He surely was not thinking to assert the authority of private judgment, every man alone with his Bible and the Holy Spirit deciding what Scripture says and what he would believe. But what was he to do with the dilemma? Would he choose to submit himself to the authority of the church or would he call upon the church to submit itself to the authority of Holy Scripture?

    Luther’s choice had consequences he could not have foreseen and which he would surely reject. He did not mean to make every man his own pope or to subject the church to seemingly endless divisions. Nevertheless, Luther made the right choice. The Bible is the supreme authority, and even the church in its teaching ministry must submit to the Scriptures.

  • William H Smith

    I share Bryan Fischer’s admiration of Luther, and I count myself, as a decided Protestant as a follower of Luther. However, Mr. Fischer does not know or understand Luther, the Reformation, Protestantism, Europe, England, nor America as influenced by the Reformation.